This week (November 8-13th) the Archdiocese is promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious.
The annual Vocations Awareness Week activities through the year are intended to draw attention to vocations and encourage persons to take tangible steps.
Persons wishing to explore an interest, longing or “call” to the priesthood can enter the Archdiocese Aspirancy House at the St Joseph parish.
Vocations Director, Fr Matthew d’Hereaux said the House was conceived by Archbishop Jason Gordon in 2018. It is as a place where men can transition from just “thinking vocation to action upon vocation, by leaving their homes to begin official discernment for the diocesan priesthood.” The time spent he added was a way of testing whether someone had a vocation in the head or in the heart.
How is this done? d’Hereaux said the House was designed to aid men in prayerful reflection on the diocesan priesthood and to help them gain self-knowledge and self-awareness so they are better able to make a decision to further discernment and formation.
Those who take the next step go on to the seminary St John Vianney and Ugandan Martyrs, Tunapuna.
Fr d’Hereaux said aspirants do their 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. jobs yet engage in community life of prayer, study, ministry and recreation. There are weekly sessions with the Director of the programme on human and spiritual formation and monthly meetings with their spiritual director/confessor.
Fr d’Hereaux said, “It must be said that the aspirancy is not a time of Church lockdown! Aspirants are free to visit friends, family but within limits because they are expected to practise a spirit of detachment and self-sacrifice that is a necessary part of discernment”.
Aspirants start as strangers but d’Hereaux said there is a “a great community atmosphere” and after a month, friendship and community living becomes a source of peer support and encouragement along the journey. “Entry into the Aspirancy House in St Joseph doesn’t automatically mean transition to the seminary. One simply has the be alert and open to God’s will,” he said.
For those thinking participation in the Aspirancy Programme may lead to pressure meeting expectations, the Vicar for Vocations and Priestly Formations assured that there is the understanding the individual is not obliged to pursue studies for the priesthood.
“Men have freedom to explore if God is really calling them. Decisions made in freedom are some of the best decisions,” Fr d’ Hereaux said.
Want to find out more about the Aspirancy Programme?
Contact (868) 662-2827 or (868) 299-1056